NELL f English
Medieval diminutive of names beginning with El
, such as ELEANOR
, ELLEN (1)
. It may have arisen from the medieval affectionate phrase mine El
, which was later reinterpreted as my Nel
NELSON m English
From an English surname meaning "son of NEIL
". It was originally given in honour of the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). His most famous battle was the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he destroyed a combined French and Spanish fleet, but was himself killed. Another notable bearer was the South African statesman Nelson Mandela (1918-2013). Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla
; as a child he was given the English name Nelson
by a teacher.
NEMANJA m Serbian
Possibly from Slavic ne maniti
meaning "not deceiving, not luring, not attracting". Another theory states that it means "without possessions", derived from Serbo-Croatian nemati
meaning "have not". This was the name of a 12th-century Serbian king, and the name of the dynasty he began.
NEMESIS f Greek Mythology
Means "distribution of what is due, righteous anger" in Greek. In Greek mythology Nemesis was personification of vengeance and justice.
NEMO m Literature
Means "nobody" in Latin. This was the name used by author Jules Verne for the captain of the Nautilus in his novel 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' (1870). It was later used for the title character (a fish) in the 2003 animated movie 'Finding Nemo'.
NENAD m Serbian, Croatian
Means "unexpected" in Serbian and Croatian. In the Serbian folk song 'Predrag and Nenad' this is the name of Predrag
NEPHELE f Greek Mythology
From Greek νεφος (nephos)
meaning "cloud". In Greek legend Nephele was created from a cloud by Zeus
, who shaped the cloud to look like Hera
in order to trick Ixion, a mortal who desired her. Nephele was the mother of the centaurs by Ixion, and was also the mother of Phrixus and Helle by Athamus.
NEPHTHYS f Egyptian Mythology (Hellenized)
Greek form of Egyptian Nebt-Het
meaning "lady of the house", derived from Egyptian nbt
"lady" and hwt
"house". This was the name of an Egyptian goddess associated with the air, death and mourning. She was wife of the desert god Seth
NEPTUNE m Roman Mythology (Anglicized)
From the Latin Neptunus
, which is of unknown meaning, possibly related to the Indo-European root *nebh
"wet, damp, clouds". Neptune was the god of the sea in Roman mythology, approximately equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon
. This is also the name of the eighth planet in the solar system.
NEREIDA f Spanish
Derived from Greek Νηρειδες (Nereides)
meaning "nymphs, sea sprites", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NEREUS m Greek Mythology, Ancient Greek, Biblical, Biblical Latin, Biblical Greek
Derived from Greek νηρος (neros)
meaning "water". In Greek myth this was the name of a god of the sea, the father of the Nereids. It is mentioned briefly in the New Testament, belonging to a Christian in Rome. This was also the name of a Roman saint of the 1st century, a member of the army, who was martyred with his companion Achilleus because they refused to execute Christians.
NERGÜI m & f Mongolian
Means "no name" in Mongolian. This name was traditionally given in order to mislead bad spirits.
NERISSA f Literature
Created by Shakespeare for a character in his play 'The Merchant of Venice' (1596). He possibly took it from Greek Νηρεις (Nereis)
meaning "nymph, sea sprite", ultimately derived from the name of the Greek sea god NEREUS
, who supposedly fathered them.
NERO (1) m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen, which was probably of Sabine origin meaning "strong, vigourous". It was borne most infamously by a tyrannical Roman emperor of the 1st century.
NERSES m Armenian
Armenian form of Narseh
). Saint Nerses was a 4th-century patriarch of the Armenian Church.
NERTHUS f Germanic Mythology
Latinized form of Nerþuz
, the Germanic (feminine) equivalent of Njörðr
). Nerthus was a Germanic goddess of fertility as described by the Roman historian Tacitus in the 1st century.
NERVA m Ancient Roman
Roman cognomen derived from Latin nervus
"strength". This is the name by which the 1st-century Roman emperor Marcus Cocceius Nerva is commonly known.
NERYS f Welsh
Perhaps an elaboration of Welsh ner
"lord", with the intended meaning of "lady".
NESTAN-DAREJAN f Literature
Created by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli for a character in his 12th-century epic 'The Knight in the Panther's Skin'. Rustaveli derived it from the Middle Persian phrase نیست اندر جهان (nist andar jahan)
meaning "unlike any other in the world" or "unique". In the poem Nestan-Darejan is a princess loved by Tariel.
NESTOR m Greek Mythology, Russian
Means "homecoming" in Greek. In Homer
's 'Iliad' this was the name of the king of Pylos, famous for his great wisdom and longevity, who acted as a counselor to the Greek allies.
NETHANIAH m Biblical
has given" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament this is the name of the father of Ishmael
(the assassin of Gedaliah), as well as other minor characters.
NEVADA f English
From the name of the American state, which means "snow-capped" in Spanish.
NEVAEH f English (Modern)
The word heaven
spelled backwards. It became popular after the musician Sonny Sandoval from the rock group P.O.D. gave it to his daughter in 2000.
NEVILLE m English (British)
From an English surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "new town" in Norman French. As a given name it is chiefly British and Australian.
NEVIO m Italian
Italian form of the Roman family name Naevius
, which was derived from Latin naevus
"mole (on the body)". A famous bearer was the 3rd-century BC Roman poet Gnaeus Naevius.
NEWTON m English
From a surname which was originally derived from a place name meaning "new town" in Old English. A famous bearer of the surname was the English physicist Isaac Newton (1643-1727).
NGAIO f Maori
Maori name which is derived from the name of a type of tree, also called the mousehole tree. This name was borne by New Zealand crime writer Dame Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982).
NICCOLÒ m Italian
Italian form of NICHOLAS
. A famous bearer was Niccolò Machiavelli, a 16th-century political philosopher from Florence.
NICHOLAS m English
From the Greek name Νικολαος (Nikolaos)
which meant "victory of the people" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and λαος (laos)
"people". Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century bishop from Anatolia who, according to legend, saved the daughters of a poor man from lives of prostitution. He is the patron saint of children, sailors and merchants, as well as Greece and Russia. He formed the basis for the figure known as Santa Claus (created in the 19th century from Dutch Sinterklaas
), the bringer of Christmas presents.... [more]
NICOLE f French, English, Dutch, German
French feminine form of NICHOLAS
, commonly used in the English-speaking world since the middle of the 20th century. A famous bearer is American-Australian actress Nicole Kidman (1967-).
NIELS (1) m Danish
Danish form of NICHOLAS
. A famous bearer was Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a Danish physicist who investigated the structure of atoms.
NIEVES f Spanish
Means "snows" in Spanish, derived from the title of the Virgin Mary Nuestra Señora de las Nieves
meaning "Our Lady of the Snows".
NIGEL m English
, a medieval Latinized form of NEIL
. It was commonly associated with Latin niger
"black". It was revived in the 19th century, perhaps in part due to Sir Walter Scott's novel 'The Fortunes of Nigel' (1822).
NIKAU m Maori
From the name of a type of palm tree found in New Zealand (species Rhopalostylis sapida).
NIKEPHOROS m & f Ancient Greek, Greek Mythology
Means "carrying victory" from Greek νικη (nike)
"victory" and φερω (phero)
"to carry, to bear". This name was borne by several Byzantine emperors, including the 10th-century Nikephoros II Phokas. Besides being a masculine personal name, it was also a title borne by the goddess Athena
NIKETAS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek νικητης (niketes)
meaning "winner, victor". Saint Niketas was a 4th-century bishop of Remesiana in Serbia. He is a patron saint of Romania.
NIKIAS m Ancient Greek
Derived from Greek νικη (nike)
meaning "victory". This was the name of an Athenian general who fought in the Peloponnesian war.
NILI f Hebrew
Acronym of the phrase נצח ישׂראל לא ישׁקר (Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker)
meaning "the eternity of Israel will not lie". This phrase appears in the Old Testament in Samuel 15:29. It was used as the name of a Jewish spy network in Palestine during World War I.
NIMROD m Biblical
Meaning unknown, possibly of Akkadian origin or possibly meaning "rebel" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament Nimrod is a renowned hunter, the great-grandson of Noah
. He was the founder of Babylon.... [more]
NIMUE f Arthurian Romance
Meaning unknown. In Arthurian legends this is the name of a sorceress, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Vivien, or Niniane. Various versions of the tales have Merlin
falling in love with her and becoming imprisoned by her magic. She first appears in the medieval French 'Lancelot-Grail' cycle.
NINA (1) f Russian, Italian, English, German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Polish, Slovene, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Serbian
Short form of names that end in nina
, such as ANTONINA
. It was imported to Western Europe from Russia and Italy in the 19th century. This name also nearly coincides with the Spanish word niña
meaning "little girl".
NINA (2) f Near Eastern Mythology
Meaning unknown. This was the name of a Babylonian and Assyrian fertility goddess who was identified with Ishtar
. She was the patron goddess of the city of Nineveh. Her name was written using a character representing a fish surrounded by a character representing a house.
NINEL f Russian
Reversal of the name Lenin
. Lenin was the founder of the former Soviet state. This name was created by Communist parents who were eager to reject traditional names.
NING f & m Chinese
From Chinese 宁 (níng)
meaning "peaceful, calm, serene", as well as other characters pronounced in a similar way.
NINIAN m Scottish, Irish, Ancient Celtic
Meaning unknown. It appears in a Latinized form Niniavus
, which could be from the Welsh name NYNNIAW
. This was the name of a 5th-century British saint who was apparently responsible for many miracles and cures. He is known as the Apostle to the Picts.
NIOBE f Greek Mythology
Meaning unknown. In Greek mythology Niobe was the daughter of Tantalos, a king of Asia Minor. Because she boasted that she was superior to Leto
, Leto's children Apollo
killed her 14 children with poison arrows. In grief, Niobe was turned to stone by Zeus
NITYA f & m Indian, Hindi
Means "always, eternal" in Sanskrit. This is a transcription of both the feminine form नित्या
(an epithet of the Hindu goddess Durga
) and the masculine form नित्य
NIV m Hebrew
Means either "speech, expression" or "fang, tusk" in Hebrew.
NJERI f Eastern African, Kikuyu
Means "travelling one" in Kikuyu. Njeri (or Wanjeri) is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi
in the Kikuyu origin legend.
NJORD m Norse Mythology, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
From Old Norse Njörðr
, which was possibly derived from the Indo-European root *ner
meaning "strong, vigourous". Njord was the Norse god of the sea, sailing, fishing and fertility. With his children Freyr
he was a member of the Vanir.